|Why Obama’s USDA food-safety pick is so important|
Grist - 7/14/2009.By Tom Philpott – As I reported Friday, a man with a Big Ag background has emerged as the frontrunner for a still-empty USDA post called “undersecretary of food safety.” The holder of this position oversees the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which has the nearly impossible task of ensuring that our gigantic, factory-scale slaughterhouses produce safe meat. An excellent piece by Bill Tomson in Friday’s Wall Street Journal lays out how meat industry influence impedes the agency’s ability to keep deadly pathogens out of the meat supply.
|Crops, ponds destroyed in quest for food safety|
Common Dreams - 7/13/2009.By Carolyn Lochhead – Dick Peixoto planted hedges of fennel and flowering cilantro around his organic vegetable fields in the Pajaro Valley near Watsonville to harbor beneficial insects, an alternative to pesticides. He has since ripped out such plants in the name of food safety, because his big customers demand sterile buffers around his crops. No vegetation. No water. No wildlife of any kind.
|Are we near peak phosphorus?|
Treehugger - 7/13/2009.By Lloyd Alter – It takes a lot of phosphorus to support our diet – about 222.5 kg per person per year for a normal balanced diet. Professor Stuart White, Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney suggests that it follows the same Hubberts Peak pattern as oil, and that we are just about at the peak.
|Sun’s out: time to make hay|
Kennebec Journal - 7/13/2009.By Betty Adams – WINDSOR -- Mike Richardson took advantage of the dry weather Friday to cut the first hay of the season. His daughter, Ashley Richardson, a sophomore at the University of Maine, pulled a tedder through the fields, flipping the mown hay. By Sunday, the Richardsons had put up 400 bales, less than half the usual production for this time of year. The slowdown, he says, is directly attributable to the wet weather.